How’s life been treating you? If you’re in Korea, please don’t get sick and dress warmer especially in this harsh winter but if you’re not, be thankful that you are not in Korea now…hehe and don’t get sick too.
Lately I was kinda worried that my Korean fluency sank to the bottomless pitch of the darkest sea…what??!! Hehe…just my rambling.
I admit that I am not a serious learner. I haven’t even sat for Intermediate TOPIK exam till now. I just couldn’t nail a good enough reason to sit for it.
Although I’m not gonna shy away or totally putting the language off over a dusty rack somewhere behind my subconscious thought.
My first effort of learning Korean language was boosted by the aim to spend a 3-month backpacking trip in Korea back in 2009.
So my first good step, I subscribed to KoreanClass101.com.
Why I chose KoreanClass101.com? Because I studied Japanese from the subset of the same project so it was a natural decision to choose them and I love the neat and user friendly learning module that they present.
I started with Survival Phrases and listening to the podcast diligently every single day from my almost broken Samsung Mp3 player when Sun Hyun Woo was still with the team.
My Samsung Mp3 player was dead by the time I started my backpacking trip and I bought a Sony Mp3 player at COEX which is still healthy. Alhamdulillah.
Having memorized the survival phrases which I thought might be enough before embarking on the backpacking journey but I totally lost the ability to even open my mouth pronouncing them.
When I was bombarded with rapid fire of questions by Korean halmonidel (할머니들) and harabojidel (할아버지들) my mind turned black, my pentium processor became X486? heheh..
I was WWOOFing at that time so I was surrounded with people speaking in non-standard Korean. Basically they speak in local dialect or you may call it Saturi.
Ack!! It was a language shock for me…plus cultural shock. @_@
My excuse: They didn’t teach me that back in KoreanClass101.com. Ooopss…that was my mistake.
My biggest flaw was to assume that I would conquer the communication just by repeating the survival phrases on and on and on. I didn’t even memorize Hangul.
I was wrong..T_T. I was intimidated by the sheer abundance of signboards written only in Hangul. Oh My God…I am so illiterate. I was crawling like a baby.
As I traveled deeper towards the rural area of Korea, I knew I was a lost case.
I just hate learning Korean!!! My thought at the time.
So I shut my mind, refused to refer to my dictionary and just listened.
I listened 95% of the time when Korean communicated with me and relied on body language to get the message across.
Being a laughingstock was a common thing and asking so many things to satisfy my curiosity was a ritual.
I refused to be friends with other than native Korean for my first 3 months trip. Hardly had any English speaking friends let alone Malaysian friends. Nada. None.
Suprisingly, my listening skill gained a notch and it was within a 3 months span. I didn’t put much expectation on myself and I’m glad I did that back then. Who am I to expect so much? I’m not a native.
When I travelled, I hardly watched television let alone being a worshipper of highly addictive weekly Korean dramas.
The funny part was, how I missed so much to speak in Malay language..and sometimes I spoke to Korean babies or little kids in Malay.
But after I came back from the 3-months trip, I had kinda like enlightenment ..hehe after watching the dramas, I was amused that I actually understood many of words said in the dramas.
I was like..”Wow!!!” and that was only 3 months!!
It took me a month before deciding for another 3 months journey all in the name of learning Korean but…with many hurdles definitely.
To be continued in Part 2.